President Theodore Roosevelt’s statue in front of the American Museum of Natural History was vandalized with red paint, most likely in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Gothamist reports.
The statue, located at the Central Park West entrance to the museum, has been the subject of protests for at least a few years now; it depicts Roosevelt atop a horse with an indigenous man and a black man on either side, which many have described as racist.
On Columbus Day this year, protestors held up a “Decolonize This City” banner in front of the statue, and later continued the protest against other such statues and monuments inside the museum. No group has yet claimed responsibility for defacing the Roosevelt statue. (Curbed has reached out to the museum for comment, and will update with any new information.)
The incident comes on the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “symbols of hate” task force opening up a 90-day review of such monuments and symbols located on public land across NYC. The newly assembled Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers is also asking the public to help determine which monuments should be considered for removal, reports Hyperallergic.
While the seven-question survey doesn’t single out any particular structures, the questions are meant to serve as guidance as to which monuments are seen as “oppressive and inconsistent with the values of New York City.”
“Responses will play a critical role in shaping the commission’s work of developing guidelines that can be applied broadly to art on City property, with the ultimate goal of putting forth a thoughtful way to promote more inclusive, welcoming public spaces for all New Yorkers,” said Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl in a statement.
The survey will remain open through November 26.